Monkadelphia: All Monk, All the Time
AAJ: So, to begin to wrap it up, what would you say is the future of your group, Monkadelphia?
TL: Rowan University, Somers Point, wherever we play next. That's our future. Wherever we get a gig. And we have a new CD coming out.
TM: I do sometimes wish we had a manager like Ted Kurland or somebody like him. We need someone to sell us. We do see musicians who do act successfully as their own managers. But all we want for Monkadelphia is to play the tunes.
TL: And we want to do that in an open fashion. We don't want to box them in with elaborate arrangements and a lot of planning. That's good for new music, where you want the exposure. But for the music that's been around, my favorite approach is that of the Keith Jarrett Trio. "Just play." That's what we do. Most of it is about playing in the moment. And the more we get to do that, the more it evolves. All of us are involved in a number of projects. The Monkadelphia group is a player's band. I just like the idea of how many different ways can Monk's music go. When I started playing, Monk wasn't done that much. Now everybody covers Monk. The only difference with Monkadelphia is that all our tunes are Monk's.
AAJ: To conclude, I often ask what each of you would say is your philosophy of life, gives meaning to it. Do you have any spiritual orientation or practice?
TM: I personally am not religious at all. For me, religion is too much about who's right and who's wrong, tunnel vision. I just think I love playing music. Play, have fun, and one day the ticker stops. Music has been my life forever.
TL: For me, I'm spiritual but not religious. I feel in tune with the notion that there's a glue that's holding the cosmos together.
JM: Superglue. [Laughter.]
TL: On the one hand I take it seriously, but I don't believe one should take oneself too seriously. We all have our egos, but I try to back off from that. Basically, I'd say, to sum it up, that life is about staying in the moment. And then whatever is the best expression in that moment, that's what I'm after musically.
JM: In the moment, that's for sure. My basic philosophy is that I hope that after I'm gone, everyone who knew me will remember me with a smile.
Jim Miller Time, A Brief History of (Jim Miller) Time (Dreambox Media, 2008)
Tom Lawton, Retrospective/Debut (Dreambox Media, 2004)
Jim Miller Time, If It's Not One Thing... (Dreambox Media, 2004)
Tony Miceli/The Philly 5, Looking East (Self Produced, 2003)
Monkadelphia, Monkadelphia (Orchard, 2000)
Thelonious Monk, Page 1:Courtesy of The Official Thelonious Monk Website
All Other Photos Courtesy of Monkadelphia